On The Water




Click for larger view

My Favorite Warmwater Fly Patterns

On the pages that follow are those flies that have been consistent producers for my favorite warmwater gamefish over the years.

That is not to say that the other fly patterns that appear on Warmwater Fly Tyer are no good. I have caught a number of fish with most of them at various times and under various conditions. During some seasons a particular fly that was an excellant producer the previous season will hardly produce a fish. The following season it may again be the hottest fly in your fly box. That's why we love warmwater fly fishing and fly tying.



Favorite Bluegill Flies

At times Bluegills, the premier member of the sunfish family, will hit almost any fly you throw at them, especially during spawning season when they are on the nests. But the rest of the season is a different story. Bluegills can be as selective as trout and that's when you need a number of different patterns in your fly box.




Click for larger view

Orange Foam Spider

This is my favorite top water fly when bluegills are feading on the surface.


Click for larger view

The Fathead Diver

This is a Jack Ellis fly that is also a favorite top water bluegill fly. If you like to work with deer hair, tie up this little guy in various colors and you will take both bluegills and largemouth bass with it.


Clickc for larger view

The Gill Getter

The Gill Getter is a Tom Lentz fly that is also a great producer. It's weighted so you will be able to fish it deep.


Click for larger view

The "Plan B"

The "Plan B" my favorite all around bluegill and bass fly. Most of the ponds have bluegills, bass, crappie, and catfish in them. I have taken all four species with this fly in a single outing so you never know what will hit it. More often than not it's a big bluegill or a largemouth bass.


Click for larger view

Panfish Polecat

The Panfish Polecat is another Tom Lentz creation. It seems that there are times when bluegills want nothing else. Yellow and black apparently the colors of choice on those days.


Click for larger view

Brim Bug

The Brim Bug is a version of the Wooly Bugger that has taken lots of bluegills throughout the season. It has one problem. The small bass won't leave it alone.


Click for larger view

The Brim Fly

The Brim Fly is another of Tom Lentz's creations. It's tied with weight and the rubber legs and marabou tail really work their magic on the sunfishes.


Click for larger view

The Cockaroo

The Cockaroo is tied in the winged wet fly tradition and it's a great little wet fly for gills and other panfish.


Click for larger view

Black Laced McGinty

The Black Laced McGinty is my version of this classic trout fly. Tom Keith is credited with comming up with a warmwater version that had a yellow hen neck feather for the collar. I replaced it with a Whiting Black Laced Yellow hen neck feather because I thought the fly looked better.


Click for larger view

The Brim Special

This is another of Florida angler Tom Lentz's creations that I have used with great success. Any time you combine rubber legs and a marabou tail with a chenille body on a bluegill fly you probably will have great success with it.


Click for larger view

The Bristleback Nymph

This little nymph is one of my own creations that works very well fished deep during the dog days of summer.


Click for larger view

The Fox Tail Grub

This is another little nymph that I designed to represent a dragon fly nymph. It works very well for me throughout the season. The bead chain eyes cause the fly to ride hook point up so that you can fish it in the weeds without hanging up.


Click for larger view

The March Brown Spider

This fly is one of my favorite trout flies that I also use for bluegills and other panfish. There are times when bluegills want a really small wet fly and this little guy meets that need.


Click for larger view

The CVC Nymph

This little verigated chartreuse nymph was my best bluegill producer in 2008.


Click for larger view

The Micro-Jig

The Micro-Jig can be deadly on all panfish. In fact it's a great fly for trout as well.


Click for larger view

The Orange Teal

The Orange Teal in one of a series of three wet flies that will take a lot of panfish. Bluegill especially like orange and this little wet fly fills the bill. I especially like to fish it early in the season.


Click for larger view

The Red-Faced Wobbler

I tie the Red-Faced Wobbler in white, black, olive, and chartreuse. An article about the Wobbler was published in the Spring 2008 issue of Fly Tyer Magazine.


Click for larger view

The Rubber Legged Dragon

This is a Carter Nelson creation that takes lots of giant bluegills at Callaway Gardens in Georgia. Carter used to be the fisheries manager there and this fly first appeared in the now defunct Warmwater Fly Fishing magazine.


Click for larger view

The Mini-Bugger

The Mini-Bugger is one of my favorite searching flies for trout and it's also is a great panfish fly.





Favorite Largemouth Bass Flies

Second only to Bluegills the Largemouth Bass is my favorite pond and small lake fish.

My bass fly box has far fewer fly patterns in it than does my bluegill fly box. I have found that bass aren't as selective as bluegills and therefore I need fewer fly patterns to be successful throughout the season.

Since the waters I fish have good populations of both bass and bluegills, several of my favorite bass flies will take both species. In the following pages I will indicate those flies that serve that dual purpose.



Click for larger view

The "Plan B"

When the bass and bluegills aren't feeding on top, this is my fly of choice. I probably use it more than any other lure in my bass fly box because it produces so well under all conditions throughout the season.


Click for larger view

FenceRider Frog

The FenceRider Frog is my favorite top water offering. I tie it in fire orange shown here and also in natural frog colors. Even though this little guy is tied on a relatively large (size 4) hook it easily takes big bluegills as well as bass.


Click for larger view

The Yellow Tail

The Yellow Tail is a great mid-depth streamer. The yellow and black tail seem to be a color combanition that bass can't refuse. I also tie it in brown with an orange tail and black with a chartreuse tail.


Click for larger view

Woolhead Muddlers

Woolhead Muddlers are another producer of bass and panfish depending on the size of the Muddler that is fished. I tie them down to a size 8 and up to a size 4 in various colors. I often fish them on a sink-tip weight-forward floating fly line.


Click for larger view

Red Head Chugger

You can't fish for bass without a couple of hair bugs in your fly box. If you can spin and trim deer hair, hair bugs are fun to make and great to fish. When the bass are looking up the hair bug is a good choice. I tie them down to a size 8 and up to a size 2. Sizes 4, 6, and 8 hair bugs are also great bluegill flies.


Click for larger view

The Fatal Attraction

The Fatal Attraction is and effective fly for several warm and coldwater species. I use it at times when nothing else seems to work. The Baby Sunfish pattern seems to work best on Largemouth Bass. A natural baitfish pattern works best on Crappie.


Click for larger view

The Crystal Hopper

The Crystal Hopper is a great offering during grasshopper time. Cast it out and move it with very slight twitches to simulate a live hopper struggling in the water.


Click for larger view

The Flashabou Streamer

This little streamer can, at times, be very productive for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and crappies. I tie it using either gold, silver, or salt and pepper flashabou.


Click for larger view

HairyMara Sllider

This is another great largemouth bass fly. I tie it in sizes 4, 6, and 8. The smaller sizes also work great for big bluegills. You can also tie it without legs if you choose.


Click for larger view

The Red-Faced Wobbler

This versitile little streamer has taken lot of largemouth and smallmouth bass in addition to bluegills and crappies. I tie it also as a jig and in the following color patterns - white, black, chartreuse, purple, and olive.


Click for larger view

The Jointed Minnow

The Jointed Minnow is the latest addidion to my bass fly box. I tie it in three color patterns - Shad, Sunfish, and Perch.





Favorite Smallmouth Bass Flies

As is the case with my Largemouth fly box, my Smallmouth fly box has a limited number of fly patterns. As long as your box contains a few patterns to fish on top when the smallies are looking up and a few other patterns that can be fished at various levels in the water column, you will be in good shape.



Click for larger view

Broonze Godess

The Bronze Godess is a great crayfish imitation. My fishing partner Mike Jacobs created it to take smallies in our Northeast Iowa Smallmouth Streams and he and I have had great success with it.


Click for larger view

Perfect Pencil Popper

During mid-summer you can often take smallies with topwater offerings and the EZ Pencil Popper is one that does a great job. Check Warmwater Fly Tyer later this fall to get instruction for tying this easy to tie and very durable popper.

LinkTie the Perfect Pencil Popper

Click on this link to go to the "Chuggers and Poppers" page then scroll down the page until you find the Pencil Popper


Click for larger view

Kentucky Wonder Slider

The Kentucky Wonder is a favorite of Oklahoma smallmouth guide Larry Clark. He claims that it's extremely effective on Kentucky Spotted Bass as well as smallies.


Click for larger view

Mike's Lite-Brite Leech

This is another Mike Jacobs creation that takes smallies with regulariaty. Mike and I do a lot of smallie fishing together and this little guy is one of our best producers.


Click for larger view

Hipps's HellCraw

Featured Tier Anthony Hipps created this neat little streamer to take smallies in his home state of North Carolina. I have found that a HellCraw color pattern with a burnt orange marabou tail, rootbeer Estaz body, brown rubber legs, and bronze Flashabou works best.


Click for larger view

Crystal Hopper

The Crystal Hopper can be very effective during hopper season. I tie the hopper with rubber legs but I use knotted hopper legs made from pheasant tail fibers when I have them.


Click for larger view

Red-Faced Wobbler

The Red-Faced Wobbler can be very effective when smallies are feeding on baitfish. I prefer to tie it in white with a red face and black with a red face.


Click for larger view

Swimming Crayfish

The Swimming Crayfish is another pattern to use when the bass are feeding on them. I have not used it for smallies but a friend in Georgia swears by it. Even though I haven't had a chance to fish it I can tell by the way it looks that it will become one of my favorities.


Click for larger view

Perfect Popper - Shad

The Perfect Popper is my favorite surface bug for smallmouth bass. I tie it in Shad, Blue, Yellow, and Black. They all take there fair share of bass. The step-by-step photo enhanced instructions for tying the popper will be posted after an article about it appears in Fly Tyer Magazine.

LinkTie the Perfect Popper

Click on this link to go to the "Chuggers and Poppers" page and scroll down the page until you find the Perfect Popper


The Jointed Wobbler

Click for larger view

The Jointed Wobbler is a great smallmouth bass lure. I tie it in three color patterns - Shad, Perch, and Sunfish.




Favorite Crappie Flies

One of my favorite crappie lakes has good populations of both white and black crappies. Most of them range from ten to 12 inches in length and they are great fun in the early spring and late fall.

When crappies spawn in the early spring they will nest in water from one to ten feet deep. My crappie fly box contains jig type flies that will get down to the ten foot level as well as other patterns that can be fished more shallow if that's where the crappie are nesting.

Crappies are a schooling fish and when they are suspended as they do after the spawn and in the fall you know that if you take one fish there is a good possibility that there will be more in the same area.

When fish are suspended I like to use the count down method. When I take my first fish in a given area I cast again and count down as the fly drops to the level where the fish are suspended before I begin my retrieve.



Click for larger view

Craft Fur Clouser

Crappies are minnow eaters and a Clouser Deep Minnow is a good bet most of the time. My favorite color pattern is chartreuse and white.



Click for larger view

Flashabou Streamers

Over the years I have taken plenty of crappies with this little streamer in all three color patterns. It's a great fly to use when schools of crappie are suspended in open water.


Click for larger view

Super Silver Minnow

Tom Keith in his book Fly Tying and Fishing for Panfish and Bass describes this little streamer as his best crappie producer. I have used it with some success but it's not my favorite crappie streamer.


Click for larger view

The HairyMara Minnow

This is a great little streamer to tie to the end of a sink-tip line. Tie it in white and/or chartreuse. It also is a pretty good white bass fly.


Click for larger view

The Fatal Attraction

The Fatal Attraction is a great little streamer that takes lots of different warmwater gamefish. Tied in natural minnow colors it's a great crappie streamer.


Click for larger view

The Marabou Miss

The Marabou Miss is one of Florida angler Tom Lentz's most productive crappie streamers. Count it down and strip it through schooling specs.


Click it for larger view

The Micro-Jig

Tie the Micro-Jig in white, chartreuse, or yellow with the head painted red and you have a great little fly to fish as is or to fish under a small float.


Click for larger view

The Crappie Jig

The crappie jig is the only fly that some anglers use to fish for crappie. I like to use it and have caught lots of crappie on it but it's definitely canbe productive when nothing else works.


Click for larger view

The Red-Faced Wobbler

The Red-Faced Wobbler tied in white, black, or chartreuse with the red hackle face is a very productive crappie streamer. You can see on the Photo Album Page that it's a great producer for me.





Favorite Catfish Flies

I don't purposely go fishing to fish for catfish. Generally a cat is taken when I'm fishing for bass. However, there is a farm pond in Eastern Iowa that has an abundance of 20-plus inch catfish and when I visit that pond with my friend Mike Jacobs I fish for catfish with largemouth bass as a secondary target.

My fly box contains only two flies that will consistently produce catfish if you can find a pond full of them.



Click for larger view

Hipps's HellCraw

The HellCraw with a burnt orange tail, rootbeer Estaz body, brown rubber legs and bronze Flashabou topping has been a great catfish fly. On an Eastern Iowa pond one evening I took ten cats, none under twenty inches, on that color pattern.


Click for larger view

The "Plan B"

The fly that I caught my first catfish on was the "Plan B" and since that time I have taken several on it. It's not only a catfish fly but I have also caught many bass and bluegills on it as well.

Copyright 2014 Ward Bean, Council Bluffs, IA, All rights reserved.